Liverpool may strive to land a savvy transfer deal a la Ibrahima Konaté. However, with a Chelsea bid on the table and other difficulties, it’s an awkward scenario
During Croatia’s march to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar, Joko Gvardiol’s reputation grew tenfold. The 20-year-old defender was dominant at center-back for his country for the majority of the tournament.
Unfortunately for Guardiola, his most memorable moment may have been when Lionel Messi reduced him to a tangled mass of limbs for Argentina’s third goal in the 3-0 defeat that sent them home.
However, his performances during the competition should not be forgotten, and his price will most likely skyrocket now. The RB Leipzig defender has only been in the starting lineup for the east German team since the beginning of last season, but he has already drawn a lot of attention ahead of the World Cup.
The onus is now on Leipzig to see if they can keep the player as the winter transfer window approaches. Liverpool, as well as nearly every other major European club, have been linked with a bid for him.
According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Liverpool would have to struggle to sign the 20-year-old.
“I know Chelsea and Real Madrid are both interested in him right now. They’ve already made bids, but his transfer worth has soared as a result of his World Cup performance,” SoccerNews reported.
“Chelsea will undoubtedly make a bid in January, although Real Madrid prefer a summer trade. I believe Madrid is the best option for his career. Not only because we’re talking about Real Madrid, but also because Carlo Ancelotti is present and can improve him.
“Ancelotti is an excellent defender, and Gvardiol would profit from the assistance of an Italian coach at this time.”
Gvardiol is valued at £52 million (€60 million/$63 million) by Transfermarkt, but he is expected to command a higher price as a result of his World Cup performances and the increased interest in him.
Liverpool is in an odd position in terms of central defense since, while they don’t need him now, they will in the near future. Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konaté, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip are still capable of performing at the highest level, although Van Dijk and Matip are becoming older, and the latter has been prone to injuries this season.
The quartet should be enough to carry Liverpool’s defense for the rest of the season and possibly next, but with Gvardiol only 20 years old, he might be at the heart of Liverpool’s defense for the rest of his career.
But Liverpool cannot afford to wait another 18 months to sign Gvardiol. He’ll most likely be scooped up far sooner. It wouldn’t be surprising if he left in January, let alone next summer and beyond.
It’s a classic case of stick or twist for Liverpool. Furthermore, with the midfield being the most critical area for improvement, Liverpool may have to abandon the defense for a few transfer windows.
Gvardiol could be the right player at the wrong time, and he won’t be following in the footsteps of Konaté and Naby Keta by leaving Leipzig for Liverpool.